Zambia’s Gov’t Forced Mayor to Apologize for Closing Chinese Restaurant Who Denied Service to a Zambian

Mayor Miles Sampa

Lord Mayor of Lusaka, Miles Sampa has been forced by the Government of Zambia to apologize to the Chinese Community following his widely celebrated decision to shut down a Chinese Restaurant after reports emerged that the management of the restaurant, called Latian Restaurant in Longacres was racially discriminating against “black Zambian” citizens. The incident which was caught on camera shows a black Zambian man with his Chinese girlfriend been denied entry into the restaurant allegedly because the man was black.

In affirming reasons for closing the restaurant late last month, the Mayor stressed that Zambia is an independent state and that apartheid has no place in the country. He further accused the management of the Chinese restaurant of not complying with the Food and Health Act, saying they were trading with an expired trade certificate.

However, a statement of apology signed by the Mayor dated 27th of May 2020 was soon issued following pressure from the central government.

“I accept my error in judgment of physically going to the business premises instead of engaging relevant offices and institutions. I can give guidance but [the] actual execution of revoking trading licenses for any trader or business house that [may be ] found wanting or in breach of any law of the land need[s] to be done by relevant offices and institutions”, Mayor Mile said in the statement.

By all indications, the central government in Zambia seemed not pleased by the Mayor’s move, which the Minister for Local Government Minister, Dr. Charles Banda earlier condemned arguing that the failure to follow the right procedures in closing the said restaurant and that he did not act within his powers.

While assuring all foreign investors in Lusaka of his office’s support in their operation in the city, Mayor Miles said, “… I wish to assure all foreign investors in the City of Lusaka that my office is there to support their businesses 100% and where we feel [sic] there is misconduct or breach of laws, we shall engage them in a more civil manner through relevant offices and institutions.”

However, Zambians on social media and beyond are outraged by the Mayor’s move to apologize to the Chinese Community in the East African State.

With many accusing China of attempting to colonize Zambia, the parasitic economic relationship between the two States has recently become intense criticism from Pan African economists around the world. Chinese investments in Zambia range from mining interests in Zambia’s copper belt to investments in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. As of the last five years, trade between China and Zambia increase to more than US$2.2 billion.